I have a 2016 VRS Wagon - just coming up to about 16 months ownership...it also has the 19" wheels!
- Performance! It isn't truly "hot" but it goes well enough to put a smile on my face and handles pretty well for a wagon
- Practicality! Plenty of room for 5 adults and the boot is huge
- Seats/comfort - really good sports seats IMO. Took me a while to get used to after the much softer seats in my Mazda 6, but long term they have been much better for me.
- The gear box - 6 speed DSG is great and hasn't left me wishing for the manual
- Looks - I think it is pretty handsome yet understated.
- Kit - I got no extras as mine was an ex-demo, but overal kit and features are decent. Touch screen and Apple Car play work really well and sat nav is great.
- Reliability - well you would hope that nothing major has gone wrong for a new car in under 2 years, but that isn't always the case these days
- Dealer service - really good from Giltrap so far, including the management of minor issues under warranty - see below!
- Safety - should be solid and safe...glad I haven't needed to test that yet though!
The Bad? (well "Middling" really!):
- All that performance to the front wheels means it is hard to get the power down sometimes. In the wet, even if you aren't intending to hoon it, you can really spin up the front tyres trying to pull out on a slope and then the brutish traction control starts getting involved. Ugh.
- Interior quality - its oddly mixed. Much of it is excellent - the dash and the switch-gear etc is all really nice, as is steering wheels etc, but some of it is rough; door paneling is cheap and plasticy in the 2016 model and I have some mnior - but persistant and annoying - interior rattles
- Niggles - no najor reliability issues at all, but a few minor niggles: Sat Nav wasn't working on collection and needed firmware upgrade/aerial fix, intermittently Faulty parking sensors in front which required new sensor modules, fuel line rattle/vibration under car which needed securing and some minor interior quality issues around seat material and silver paint - all of which have been dealt with but were a little disappointing.
- Ride quality on the 19" is firm and can be a bit crashy, but IMO it is to be expected with the low-profile tyres and sports suspension so I am not too worried.
- Stereo: Althogh the interface and features are good, the speakers are pretty crappy and I wish I had the Canton premium sound system.
- Economy: Look, anyone buying a "hot" (warm?) variant of a car is not likerly to be too worried about this, but long term I am getting 9.7/100 which is "meh" and around 500km per tank.
- Refinement: Interior road noise can be horrific on certain surfaces. A combination of the big wheels/low tyres, the natural propensity for wagons to resonate more inside than sedans, the coarsness of much of NZ road surface and the flagrant skimping on interior sound proofing (you can tell where Skoda save the money vs VW here!) means that to my ears, the interior noise can get really rough. I am hoping that when I change tyres for the first time, a set of Goodyear F1 AS2 or AS3 will make a difference here as a lot of owners on the forums suggest that the P-Zero's really don't help here. Fingers crossed.
Big question - would I buy another one?
Maybe. If the next model had big improvements on the refinement and sound-proofing (or it turns out that smaller wheels and better tyres help significantly here) then I would certainly short-list a VRS245 or similar with the right options.
IMHO I would definately want the DCC (ride control) option, the proper torque-vectoring (I think the refresh has this as standard now) and the uprated Canton stereo as well on any new model - problem is, with all the extras you are now in the price bracket for an ex-demo Superb 280 4x4, Golf GTI or touching distance of a Golf R!
My STRONG recommendation to you on a test drive is to find a nice long patch of rough/course road with a national speed limit and take for a spin there. If the road noise doesn't bother you here and you like the rest of the car, it is a great buy
Also bear in mind that the 2018 Mazda 6 will offer the turbo-charged varant of the 2.5 engine straight out of the CX-9. This looks like it could be a really compelling direct competitor to the VRs Wagon and I will be keeping my eye on this one.